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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Paying more for bus trips

PETALING JAYA: Bus passengers at the new Integrated Transportation Terminal Bandar Tasik Selatan (ITT-BTS) may have to pay a surcharge for their tickets.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the cost of operating from the terminal was four times higher than at other terminals, including Puduraya.
“Each bus is being charged RM10 per entry and RM10 per exit. We are also charged RM1 per passenger for their tickets. It comes up to RM60 per bus per trip,” he told The Star.
He said the terminal’s operator Maju TMAS (Terminal Management and Services) had insisted that bus companies use its computerised ticketing system although they have their own system online.
The ITT-BTS does not have individual counters for each bus operator, which some say would curb the tout problem rampant at Puduraya and the temporary terminal in Bukit Jalil.
Ashfar dismissed this, saying that touts operated outside bus terminals and the problem could be solved with strict enforcement by the authorities.
As the ticketing system of the terminal and the bus companies were not linked, Ashfar was concerned that this might lead to an overlap in ticket sales.
“If it is not solved before the Chinese New Year rush, the problem will become very messy. Not only are the operators confused but the passengers, too,” he said.
Currently, passengers who buy their seats online have to go to the terminal’s counter for their coupons.
He said even the passengers bought their tickets at the coun- ter or online, the bus companies would be charged RM1 for each customer.
“Somebody has to bear the cost. We can impose a surcharge on the passengers,” he said, adding that Maju TMAS had said the fees were to provide better facilities for passengers.
While Ashfar welcomed improved passenger experience, he said the excuse was not valid as the RM570mil terminal was developed using taxpayers’ money and not private funds.

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